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Local News 18 Feb, 2022 Follow News


Now that the borders have been reopened and more COVID-19 restrictions are being relaxed, a corresponding drive is underway to ensure that Caymanian workers are prioritized in the jobs market.


The effort is being led by the Ministry of Labour jointly with the Ministry of Tourism and private sector organisations.


Key to this is streamlining the government’s jobs and careers agency - Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) - with additional resources.


The WORC department was set up in 2018 “geared towards restructuring the country’s labour market”, according to an official statement then.


The agency with its accompanying website, Jobs Cayman, is now being upgraded and supplemented to cope with the demand.


One of the main decisions taken in this regard by Hon. Minister for Labour Chris Saunders is a newly launched campaign of newspaper advertising with job vacancies once again prominently featured in the local press including the Caymanian Times.


In encouraging residents seeking employment to pick up their copy of the papers, Mr Saunders said the aim is to maximise the chances of Caymanians filling available vacancies.

“We’re going to be doing that on a weekly basis because jobs are available here,” Mr Saunders declared.


He reported he was meeting with private sector stakeholders to address the issue in combined steps to fill vacancies locally while balancing that with tighter management of the work permit system.

Just recently, one of the things that we have noticed is that last year for example, of the roughly 35,000 decisions that the department of WORC dealt with, more than 15,000 (almost half) were for temporary work permits,” the Labour Minister stated.


He said the government was looking at a policy leading to changes in the law aimed at blocking a loophole in the system where there's an excess of requests for temporary work permits.


Mr Saunder pointed out that even though there might be a set number of jobs listed as vacant, the actual figure could be higher when the request for short term work permits are factored in.


“People are using that as a kind of loophole,” he stated.

“There are definitely more jobs available and we want to tighten up on that regime. We do recognise that there are some challenges within the temporary work permit system and right now the government is looking at a policy, making the legislative changes where any temporary work permit over 30 days (would have to be advertised on the Jobs Cayman/WORC portal), so at a minimum we’ll have more jobs available.”


Reporting on discussions he's been having with the Chamber of Commerce on the matter, Mr Saunders said he is taking a partnership approach to ensure that Caymanians are not overlooked for available jobs, but also recognising that the needs of the private sector at met.


“This is a partnership. That's why I met with the Chamber of Commerce and said just as how you will expect us to protect your business from foreign competition or foreign influences or unfair competition, you will also have to expect from me as Minister of Labour that I will also want to do the same thing in the sense of also protecting our people from especially the cheap labour that is there.”


He emphasised: “The main thing for us right now is actually getting our people back to work. Our people want to work and that's really what it comes down to. This is who we are.”

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